Daily Green 吉祥素, Bedok: It’s the vegetarian chicken rice, or nothing at all

I was once told by someone—the marketing and digital head of Unilever Food Solutions to be exact—that out of three meals in a week, we have 21 different chances to go plant-based, yet I find that many omnivorous beings such as myself will jump at any chance to have some form of meat on our plates.

Store front of Daily Green

Perhaps it’s been so heavily ingrained in us that a meal is somewhat imbalanced until there’s protein in the form of meat, or that you just downright adore the sweet sinking of your teeth into shreds of beef. This afternoon, I make the attempt at Daily Green to get through just one meal on purely vegetarian food—after all, it would do both the planet and my health wonders if I were to make a habit out of this.

What I tried

Scooping shot of a bowl of vegetarian laksa

I had my eye on the Vegetarian Kway Chap (S$3.50), but am promptly told by the lone stall holder that only six menu items are available, as he wordlessly points me to a smaller, revamped menu on my right. Alright, the Vegetarian Laksa (S$3.50) it is then.

Easily enthroned as one of my top five favourite local dishes, laksa is but one of my many love languages. And for that reason, I cling onto high hopes for the vegetarian iteration of it, sincerely hoping it makes the cut.

It doesn’t. Somehow, it lacks the familiar creaminess and fragrance from the usual coconut milk, and quite frankly has an odd aftertaste. Dejected, I throw in the towel after five spoonfuls, feeling more disappointed than I was when the Blackpink and Selena Gomez song, Ice Cream, was first unveiled.

It’s lamentable that the best element in the bowl is the mock prawn that closely resembles the types of mock meat traditionally used in the white vegetarian bee hoon that would occasionally make its way to my dinner table every once in a while.

Vegetarian mee kia noodles

I’m hoping the Signature Noodles (S$3.50)—what I can presume is some sort of mee kia—are less of a let-down. The first bite holds dangerously little promise, but I don’t typically dismiss before giving a couple more chances first.

The whole dish reeks strongly of sweet peanut, which is unfortunate given the large shoes a mee kia already has to fill. “At least the laksa is savoury,” jabs my dining partner as she reluctantly goes in for another bite of the noodles. She won’t admit it, but there’s disappointment and distaste written all over.

Frustratingly, limp slices of mock char siew and beancurd sheets just don’t work hard enough to salvage the bowl. I say shelf this, and keep it locked away, if you ever plan on visiting Daily Green.

A plate of vegetarian chicken rice

Already at a point of deep desperation, I’m fervently hoping for some sort of relief to a meal I’m already seeing tumble downhill. Thankfully the train wreck screeches to a halt when I bite into the Vegetarian Chicken Rice (S$3.50). Even without the presence of chicken or chicken stock, the rice still manages a heavy fragrance—which many might agree is actually what makes great chicken rice.

Close up of vegetarian chicken made from tau kee

Swapped out for tau kee, the ‘chicken slices’ present a delightful bite that’s fuss-free and provides an alternative texture to break up the monotony of the rice. Though it admittedly tastes nothing like chicken, the vegetarian chicken is something I can definitely get behind, comforting myself with the fact that I’ll never have to worry about bone fragments again.

For the month of January 2021, which has just passed, Daily Green ran a Veganuary Campaign that incorporates OmniMeat into three special menu items; of which, I got to try the OmniMeat Cottage Pie (S$8.80).

Spoon out some OmniMeat cottage pie

It’s hard to go wrong with potatoes and minced meat, and indeed, the OmniMeat chunks make it easy to forget that you’re going completely plant-based at all. Granted, they were, after all, unadulteratedly drenched in a robust marinara sauce, so you can see how they practically only contributed to the dish textually.

The dish is almost completely faultless, except for one gripe—that incredibly artificially-tasting shredded cheese. The ‘shredded parmesan’ possessed neither the flavour nor bite of actual cheese, so at this point, the pie’s really better off without it altogether.

Final thoughts

As you might’ve noticed, no ‘Chef’s Kiss Awards’ are being handed out today. It’s hard to put this on a pedestal after probably one of the most unsatisfying lunches in recent months. Is it enough to convince me that the plant-based life doesn’t have to be so painful after all? Probably not. But I will say this; it’s a strong effort to incorporate non-meat elements to mimic their counterparts, and I appreciate Daily Green for it. While I doubt I’ll be coming back for seconds anytime soon, perhaps you’ll find your version of saving grace somewhere in this menu.

Expected Damage: S$3.50 – S$8.80 per pax

Price: $

Our Rating: 2 / 5

Daily Green 吉祥素

217 Bedok North Street 1, #01-77, Singapore 460217

Our Rating 2/5

Daily Green 吉祥素

217 Bedok North Street 1, #01-77, Singapore 460217

Operating Hours: 7am - 8pm (Daily)

Operating Hours: 7am - 8pm (Daily)